Home » Are These Magic Kingdom Rides Worth Waiting in Line for?

Are These Magic Kingdom Rides Worth Waiting in Line for?

The time you spend waiting in line for an attraction is time that you can’t spend doing something else that’s thrilling at a Disney theme park. As such, you don’t want to waste time on rides that don’t deserve it. I previously discussed the longest lines at Disneyland. I’m moving east today to evaluate the most popular theme park on the planet. Let’s talk about which Magic Kingdom rides are worth the wait.

7. Haunted Mansion – 40 minutes

Image: DisneyHere’s the rub in these discussions. Every attraction listed here is a timeless classic, save for the one with the longest wait. It only dates back to 2014. Everything else is a 20th century attraction that seems like a critical part of a visit to Magic Kingdom. The honest answer is that you’ll want to do everything. With some clever FastPass+ strategies, you should be able to ride each one. What if you can’t, though?

When you have a limited amount of time during your park day, you have to make some hard choices. For example, Haunted Mansion is one of the seminal theme park attractions ever. Should you wait 40 minutes to ride it, though? Of course! Duh. You will never feel like you’re at a Disney theme park more than when you board a Doom Buggy and head into the house of 999 haunts. It’s ultimate Disney, and the ride’s macabre sense of humor holds up well, too.

Verdict: OF COURSE!

6. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – 45 minutes

Image: DisneyDisney’s artificial mountain rides are universally brilliant. If I had to pick the “worst” one, it would be a discussion of relativity, like picking the least enjoyable Pixar movie. When everything falls in the range of good to brilliant, criticisms feel like nitpicking. Still, I’m of the opinion that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the most basic of Disney’s mountain roller coasters. It only reaches 104 feet into the air and never goes more than 36 miles per hour. It’s undeniably fun as a rickety coaster ride. I’m just not sure it’s worth 45 minutes to ride.

Verdict: NO

5. Jungle Cruise – 50 minutes

Image: DisneyThis answer depends entirely on your opinion of puns. Do you love awkward wordplay and jokes that are of questionable quality? I guess what I’m asking is this. When you’re at Disney, are you in such a great mood that even the corniest shtick will put a smile on your face? If so, Jungle Cruise is the ride for you.

Personally, I find Jungle Cruise delightful and try to ride it at least each time I visit Walt Disney World or Disneyland. I do NOT, however, ride it multiple times, which is my way of saying that it’s something that I check off the list more than anything else. I don’t view a Disney trip as complete without it, but my enjoyment comes down to whether the Skipper in charge is entertaining or not. I just can’t justify a 50-minute wait on Jungle Cruise right now. This is a ride that’s desperately in need of plussing in my opinion.

Verdict: NO

4. Peter Pan’s Flight – 60 minutes

Image: DisneyIf there were an award for most colorful Disney attraction ever, Peter Pan’s Flight might win. I’m still in awe of how lustrous and shiny this ride is. From the skies of London to the pirate ship, every detail is sumptuous. I say all of this to demonstrate that I am one of the most ardent supporters of this ride that you’ll ever find. If you could walk right onto it, you would have the time of your life. For two minutes.

Herein lies the problem with Peter Pan’s Flight. Whenever I try to describe its value relative to its wait-time, I can’t help but sound vaguely euphemistic. When you determine the worth of Peter Pan’s Flight, your choice is simple. Are you willing to put in sixty minutes of effort for two minutes of fun?

You see what I mean. I’m asking that question matter-of-factly, but it certainly sounds personal and impolitic. Don’t make it dirty, people. That’s simply the choice you make for Peter Pan’s Flight. From start to finish, the ride takes 150 seconds. That’s not great. The one caveat is that the line for Peter Pan’s Flight is terrific enough that you may find it a satisfying piece of Disney magic. I just can’t overlook the size of the line relative to the ride length. It’s a long wait for a short ride. I’m more of a tantra fan, I guess.

Verdict: NO (but the line queue is possibly the best at Disney)

3. Splash Mountain – 70 minutes

Image: DisneySplash Mountain and its lesser sibling, Kali River Rapids, share a commonality. The popularity of each attraction surges dramatically as the heat rises. It’s a perfectly logical behavior. When guests are sweaty and hot, they covet the refreshing cooldown of a water ride.

Due to this quirk, the wait-time for Splash Mountain is something of a moving target. On a hot summer day, you’ll be lucky if the wait is only 70 minutes. On a colder or rainy day or even early in the day, the wait is feasibly less than 45 minutes. For this reason, Splash Mountain will have multiple answers for a lot of people.

Image: DisneyWhen you’re sweating and miserable, standing in line for 100 minutes isn’t ideal….until you splash down at the bottom of this ride. At this point, it’s like you’ve climbed a mountain. All the effort feels perfectly justified by those final few moments of glory.

I view Splash Mountain in simpler terms. It’s the most entertaining theme park attraction ever built. And Florida is always hot. Getting wet on this ride is a serendipitous bonus at the end. So, there’s just no downside here, wait-time be damned.

Verdict: YES! (and please make a killer ride photo for me)

2. Space Mountain – 75 minutes

Image: DisneyPerhaps no ride in theme park history is as significant as Space Mountain. It triggered the roller coaster arms race that has defined the industry over the last few decades. It’s also old and rickety and kind of lame relative to its successors. When you think of awesome roller coasters, Space Mountain won’t spring to mind unless you’ve lived a generally roller coaster-averse life. It’s not one of the best 25 coasters in America.

The decision you’ll have to make is whether you are willing to visit Magic Kingdom without riding Space Mountain. Some people are better equipped to make hard choices like this. Others give in to peer pressure. Personally, I can’t go to Magic Kingdom or Disneyland without taking a spin on Space Mountain. My wife would never ride it again if not for me. Nobody’s right or wrong here on waiting 75 minutes to do Space Mountain, but my final answer is…

Verdict: NO (but yes if you can get a FastPass)

1. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train –120 minutes

Image: DisneyThis is unquestionably the most divisive of the attractions listed here. I watch a lot of YouTube videos of Disney lifers, people who livestream their various park adventures. A shocking number of them have ridden Seven Dwarfs Mine Train less than five times, which is to say that when they don’t have a FastPass for it, they don’t bother.

I’ve ridden Seven Dwarfs Mine Train five times in a day. For that matter, I’ve ridden it four times in an hour. I’m borderline obsessed with it. This twisty coaster puts a smile on my face like few theme park attractions in the world. It incorporates music, visuals, and an inimitable ride element into a wholly satisfying immersive attraction.

Here’s the question, though. Is any theme park attraction worth a two-hour wait? I know that many of us have done this before. I know that Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point were rides that required three- or four-hour waits during their first years in operation, and I love both of them. I feel similarly about Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. As I’ve gotten older, however, the thought of standing in line waiting that long has become a non-starter. The younger me would have said yes to waiting two hours for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train but…

Verdict: NO (but make Seven Dwarfs Mine Train your highest FastPass priority)